THE RICH CULTURE OF IRAN – PART 1
Persia evokes thoughts of rich traditions and ancient culture, and the term Persian is often used to describe a larger sphere of cultural matters that pertain to Iran and its civilization. Persian often includes peoples from Iraq, Pakistan, northern India, the Gulf region and central Asia.
Iranians and Iranian culture have been in existence between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf for over two thousand, five hundred years. And Iranians are related to Aryan which was the great plateau that was inhabited by Indo-Europeans that came from central Asia. It was the Ancient Greeks that named these lands and peoples Persia, and it is thought that the Persian people were formed by the forefathers of Arabia, Turkey and some Caucasian territories. The peoples that live outside Iran that call themselves Persian do so to be identified with the Persian culture.
The official language of Iran is Persian and is sometimes referred to as Farsi which is actually incorrect. It is a language that goes back to antiquity and is very graceful. But over the centuries the language absorbed some Arabic and Turkish influences which has swelled the vocabulary to over a hundred thousand common words. As Arabic grew as a language in the region then Persian lost some of its intricacy and complexity, and it grew into an easier language to learn and easy to speak. Its current format is ideal for literature, poetry and singing, but modern day Iranians can still easily read twelfth century texts without a problem.
The Importance of Symbolism
Symbolism is extraordinarily important to the culture of Iran, and this dates back to almost prehistoric times. It is a fact that Iran still uses the old solar calendar, and it celebrates the New Year at the Spring Equinox. The culture of Iran is influenced by the Islamic and the pre-Islamic world which has led to conflict on many occasions. The oldest emblem for Iran is a lion that is holding a scimitar against a rising sun, and it is frequently displayed on a tricolor flag that is red, white and green. After the 1979 Revolution the lion has gone, and it has been replaced by a non-figurative symbol.
Most countries cultures are born out of their religious beliefs and Iran is no different. The official state religion of Iran is the Twelver branch of Shi’s Islam, and has been since the 17th Century. One of the main figures of Iranian culture is Imam Hassain who was the grandson of Muhammad. He was killed in the 7th Century in Iraq and his martyrdom is a colossal symbol for rhetoric and Iranian imagery.
We continue our story of the rich culture of Iran in part two of our blog, when we will see that modern day Iran was once part of the oldest civilization in the world. It is believed that the forefathers of Iran dwelled in caves in the Elburz and Zagros mountains during the Mesolithic and Paleolithic eras.